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OPEN Larapinta Challenge

Stay in stylish, comfortable semi-permanent campsites during your guided walk along Australia's most iconic desert trek

Challenge Highlights

  • Raise vital funds for your charity
  • Trek through the ancient landscape of the West MacDonnell Ranges
  • Summit Mount Sonder for a spectacular sunrise
  • Hike the main highlights including Ormiston Gorge and Standley Chasm
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the ancient Indigenous culture and Traditional Owners of the land
  • Relax in the evenings around a campfire as the guides prepare delicious 3 course meals
  • View spectacular and abundant bird-life along the whole trail

Overview

Since 1995 – when we offered the first commercial trek in this outstanding walking destination – we have led the way on the Larapinta Trail and our exclusive semi-permanent campsites continue to set the standard, winning us the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Ecotourism award in the Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards.

On this fully supported trek you walk with just a day pack to explore the best sections of this iconic desert trail: from the high ridge lines of the West MacDonnell Ranges you'll see the vast flood plains that form this ancient land. You'll be dwarfed by the immensity of Ormiston and Serpentine Gorge and soothed by their idyllic waterholes. You'll be amazed by dramatic colour changes in the rock formations at Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm... and to top it all off you'll climb to the lofty peak of Mt Sonder to watch the sunrise (1,380m).

At the end of each day we relax in comfort at our architect-designed camps – including hot showers, comfortable lounges and heated dining shelter – as our guides prepare gourmet 3-course dinners around the campfire. Our exclusive camps combined with passionate guides, spectacular food, and an unsurpassed itinerary make this tour the ultimate Larapinta experience.

Challenge Grade

The Classic Larapinta Trek is graded introductory to moderate. This trek involves walking 5-7 hours each day over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents. The trail conditions of the Larapinta Trail are rocky, rugged, hard surfaced and dry. While a number of sections of the trail wind through open plains, undulating areas and relatively flat country, overall, the trail is characterised by rocky, stony and mountainous terrain which can rise from 680m above sea level to more than 1,200m along some sections.

Suggested preparation: We recommend regular exercise 3 or 4 times per week (this can be cycling, jogging or walking) in the months leading up to your trip. At least once a week, you should walk with a weighted day pack (5–7kg) for several hours for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. The best way to train for an active holiday is to simulate the activity you will be undertaking on the trip. Train for uneven terrain by finding a hilly, rough narrow bush track, and go for a lovely long walk in your trekking boots.

Itinerary

After all the fundraising and preparation, the wait is finally over! Make your way to your Australian gateway airport for your booked flight to Alice Springs. On arrival please make your own way to the Double Tree Hilton. As supporters are arriving at different times we recommend the airport shuttle which costs approx $15 one way. Standard twin rooms have been booked at the Double Tree Hilton. At 3:30pm we'll gather the Lone Dingo Camping and Outdoor Store (a few minutes walk from the hotel) to meet your guides for a group briefing. Evening at leisure.

Meals:  Nil

We pick you up from the hotel between 7-7.30am and begin our walk at the historic Alice Springs Telegraph Station, the official start of the Larapinta Trail. From here the trail takes us west through witchetty bush, mulga scrub, and bird-filled shady woodlands. We climb high over exposed hills to the jagged outcrop of Euro Ridge, with expansive views over Alice Springs and the surrounding landscape, before descending to the passage of Wallaby Gap. After a stop for refreshments you take a quick transfer by bus to Nick's Camp. Nick's Camp is one of our exclusive award-winning camps, nestled in the bush with stunning views across the Heavitree Range and Alice Valley. Following your introduction to camp you will be treated to a spread of local bush foods prepared by local specialist Rayleen Brown. Walking Time: 5-8 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

From Nick’s Camp we continue west through magnificent, shady Bloodwoods and tall Ironwoods, the dominant trees on this narrow alluvial flat. We may catch sight of Black-footed Rock Wallaby as we approach one of the most important waterholes of the area, Simpsons Gap. A short transfer takes us to the stunning Standley Chasm where you will enjoy a talk about indigenous culture. All departures will journey into Arrernte country for a cultural conversation. After a delicious picnic lunch and a walk into the magnificent Chasm – a private reserve still run by the traditional owners – we transfer to back to our campsite. Walking Time: 3-5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Today's highlight is the 5km walk along the crest of the high ridge leading to Counts Point. From here we have clear views of Central Australia’s western horizon to Mt Zeil (1531m), the highest peak in the Northern Territory, and Mt Sonder which marks the end of the Larapinta Trail. We can also see the huge comet crater of Gosse Bluff, a feature of the landscape for the next few days. We descend from the high ridgetop though mysterious stands of mulga trees. At the base of the ridge we follow a track of dolomite limestone toward camp; keep your eye out for fossil stromatolites under foot, one of the most ancient forms of life. Stepping off the main trail, we follow our private track to Charlie's Camp, named in honour of pioneering Larapinta guide Charlie Holmes. Tonight’s camp is nestled in secluded wilderness at the foothills of Counts Point. Spend the evening relaxing around the campfire while your guides prepare a scrumptious dinner. Walking Time: 5.5-6.5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

After another wonderful breakfast we walk out of camp to the breathtaking Inarlanga (Echidna) Pass, visiting Serpentine Chalet en route. We spend some time in the magnificent pass to enjoy the peace and marvel at the ancient cycad palms. From here we trek south-west to an original ochre quarry, a sacred Aboriginal site. The rainbow of vibrant colours on the wave-like ochre wall makes for stunning photos. We then break for a picnic lunch and an early finish in preparation for our big day tomorrow. This afternoon you can relax at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge. We transfer west to one of our exclusive Camps. Fearless – named in honour of trekking guide Sue Fear, or Sonder Camp - named after the majestic Mt Sonder. Both Camps are located at the foothills of Mount Sonder. Walking Time: 3-7 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Your guides will have you up early this morning (2-3am) for our pre-dawn walk up Mount Sonder. Weaving your way up to the 1380m summit of this majestic mountain following only the glittering light of your head-torch, surrounded by deep and peaceful darkness, is a truly inspiring experience... and watching the sunrise from the top is unforgettable! Mount Sonder is the official end and highest point of the entire Larapinta Trail and as such we have expansive views across the entire vast landscape we have been exploring over the last few days. We descend to Redbank Gorge and can enjoy a great brunch back at camp. If time permits in the afternoon we may visit the Glen Helen Homestead at the base of the range where we can relax with a drink. A short transfer returns us to camp looking back up toward Mt Sonder. Walking Time: 6-7 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we enjoy the best side walk of the entire Larapinta Trail: Ormiston Pound. The Pound offers an immense variety of extraordinary scenery and is the perfect walk to complete our journey. We explore the upper reaches of the Gorge where we may see Rock Wallabies scamper about the imposing cliffs, and follow the track through scrub filled with native birds: Spinifex Pigeon, Budgerigar and Mistletoe Bird. Keep an eye out overhead for the majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australia's largest raptor. After lunch we board the bus and transfer to Alice Springs. Sitting back and watching the now familiar ancient desert landscape slide by the bus window gives most trekkers a sense of awe and satisfaction. Congratulations on all you have achieved over the last six days! We will drop you to your accommodation at approximately 4-5pm. This evening your group may like to arrange a celebratory dinner together at one of Alice's great eateries. Walking Time: 3-4 hours

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 1 night Hotel Alice Springs on twin share basis
  • 5 nights exclusive semi-permanent wilderness campsites
  • 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners, snacks & hot drinks
  • Professional wilderness guide & support staff
  • Camping equipment including tents, swags & stretcher beds
  • Fees to Aboriginal Traditional Owners
  • National Park fees
  • All transport during the tour
  • Emergency communications & 24 hour back-up
  • Comprehensive group first aid kit
  • Huma training manual and gear list

What's Not Included

  • Accommodation in Alice Springs after the trip
  • Items of a personal nature, such as laundry and alcoholic beverages
  • Backpack and sleeping bag
  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • Face masks and hand sanitiser

What You Carry

  • The Larapinta Trek is a fully supported trek. You will carry just a day pack containing the following items:
  • -Water for the day's walk (3L)
  • -Sunhat, sunglasses & sunscreen
  • -Snacks for the day, provided by your guides
  • -Waterproof and warm layers
  • -Camera and any other personal items
  • Depending on the amount of personal items you decide to carry, your day pack will weigh approximately 5-8kg. Your luggage will be transferred by the support vehicle. Please keep luggage to one soft duffle bag per person; please do not bring hard suitcases or extra large duffles as these are hard to transport.

Fundraising Impact

Step 1: Choose your charity – determine which registered charity you’d like to fundraise for.

Step 2: Choose your challenge – choose from our range of iconic Adventure Charity Challenges. The Adventure Charity Challenges are all operated by our parent company, World Expeditions, and have been tailor made for fundraisers. Complete the registration form and pay the registration fee. You can register online or download the registration form and email the completed form to us.

Step 3: Charity authorisation - Contact your chosen charity to seek permission to fundraise on their behalf. The charity will advise the minimum fundraising target and most likely directions for you to create an online fundraising page. Your registration will not progress further until the charity officially gives their authorisation.

Step 4: Receive your Confirmation Kit - once you are booked on a Charity Challenge we’ll send you a Confirmation Kit containing:

• Welcome Letter

• Fundraiser’s Guidebook

• Responsible Travel Guidebook

• Trip Pre-Departure Information

• Medical Form (if applicable)

• Travel Insurance document

• Travel Invoice

Step 5: Start Fundraising - The Fundraiser’s Guidebook we provide you will assist greatly in settling fundraising objectives and determining your fundraising activities. Your charity may have aligned with one of the many online fundraising portals which you can set up your personal fundraising page and link to your charity. It’s then a matter of getting your friends, family, colleagues and greater network to support you by pledging donations.

Step 6: Start Training - depending on the type of challenge you have chosen, it may be graded introductory through to challenging. You will need to set yourself a fitness program to ensure you're physically ready for the trekking challenge component. Take a look at our website where we provide definitions for all levels of grading as well as provide some tips for ‘getting fit’ and some suggestions on the gear you’ll require.

Step 7: Take the Challenge - once the fundraising is done it is time to set off on your Charity Challenge ... good luck and enjoy the experience with the knowledge that you have made a much needed contribution to your chosen charity.

Travel Dates

Other Challenge Costs

Minimum Charity Donation/ Fundraising required:USD$400 

Videos

What it's like trekking the Larapinta Trail

Fast Facts

Trip Dates: DepartReturn
 28 Aug 20223 Sep 2022
Duration:7 Days
Activities:Trekking
Charity Challenge
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:OL1
Registration Fee:USD$160
Travel Cost:USD$0